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ARLEN ROTH/Slide Guitar Summit: If you want to play like there's no dust on you, age ain't nothing but a number. The master of the telecaster rounds up a load of pals and blows the roof off the sucker, rock style. C'mon, Cindy Cashdollar on lap steel on "Stranger on the Shore"? You've got my attention. With a set card as diverse as the four winds and a bunch of players killing it under Tom Hambridge's production, rock fans of a certain age better give the kids instructions for running the portable defibulator because it's going to be needed. Killer stuff that handily reminds what it is to rock out.

HARRY ALLEN/For George, Cole & Duke: New Mexico might be a long way from Florida but everything about this session screams Arbors as Allen leads Ehud Asherie, Nicki Parrott and Chuck Redd through a smart, sophisticated session of songs by the tried and true masters in the sure fingered style these pros could toss off in their sleep---but don't. Killer, mainstream jazz for mature and appreciative jazz ears, this set might not be breaking any new ground but it lets the gang on board deliver the goods as they should be letting pure playing speak for itself. A winner throughout.

MICHELLE LORDI/Drive: Do it all jazz piano man Orrin Evans stretches his wings here delivering a solid set of oldies for Philly vocalist Lordi. Giving her just the right setting with just the right players, there's no harm done in taking these chestnuts out for another ride around the block. Leading with an intimate, cabaret flavored edge, Lordi makes the material her own and might just do the same to you. Well done.

DESERT DWELLERS/Great Mystery: Recorded on the run around the world, this is a set that will strike a chord with today's footloose generation as it's vibe matches their attitude. Their rootlessness might preclude them from buying this set, or even remembering to stream it, but it's the kind of stuff that's right there speaking to them if they need the right soundtrack for something in the moment. Wild stuff that defines the next underground wave.

JOHN MAYALL'S BLUESBREAKERS/Live in 1967: This edition of Mayall's crew was only together for three months and this is a bootleg that has basically never been heard, but when the dust cleared around this bunch, the first edition of Fleetwood Mac was pretty much launched from this band stand fully formed. Running through a steady set of the kind of American blues the Brits sold back to us as blues rock 50 years ago, when you start with timeless music, you get music that can be enjoyed anytime. You know the drill, you just haven't heard it this time around as it's on display here. Check it out, this is more than an historical document.

GAYE ADEGBALOLA & the Wild Rutz/Is It Still Good to You?: 40 years ago, a friend of mine did a "Women in Music" issue for a music mag he was working at back then. It was a radical idea back then. When covering the ‘womyn' aspect of the sound, he found the purveyors earnest and humorless going so far as to refuse to sit on any of the chairs in his house because men sat there. Adegbalola would have a few choice words for those back then broads, for sure. Out, loud and proud, this time around our fave uppity woman is leading an acappella blues vocal group with a sense of humor about themselves and everything else that this isn't a work aimed solely at separatists as anyone can enjoy it---even if they don't always get it. Fun stuff throughout that really works.

DEBBIE DAVIES/Love Spin: With 30 professional years under her belt, if you don't know this blues guitar slinger by now, you better get with the program. A nicely streamlined set that has a wide commercial streak for a blues record, this has the kind of right stuff that'll keep the long time fans in tow while bringing new ones into the tent. A delightfully rollicking and rocking set, Davies is the whole nine yards here delivering a set that's a winner throughout that just doesn't quit. Hot stuff.

ROGER DAVIDSON TRIO/Live at Caffe Vivaldi V. 2: Changing it up a bit for his second volume of live recordings of his original Brazilian jazz tunes, this time Davidson makes the Brazilian element the drummer in the trio. A set of killer club jazz piano trio work, it feels perfect without losing any feeling. Solidly tasty stuff that keeps driving throughout, Davidson and his pals have hit another one out of the park. A must for people that like pure playing from real pros fearlessly taking some chances that pay off well.

DEBORAH THURLOW/Collage: With a vibe reminiscent of when civil rights jazz era vocalists like Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone were making moves to go commercial, Thurlow breaks out of her educator and classical background with a set that pushes the limits that were being pushed back then. Church basement jazz with an arty edge, Thurlow uses her extensive chops to deliver the message without needing Western Union. Tasty stuff for those liking their jazz vocal dates with some edge.

TONY ADAMO & the New York Crew: Delightfully angular contemporary urban stuff that's played just right and making you think this is a soundtrack to an unmade Spike Lee pic that should be made. Crazy hip stuff for a new generation of hipsters that don't want to go around looking like steam punks. And the host of well established jazzbos on board here are just going to blow your mind.

Volume 38/Number 155
April 4, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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